Ranking the Fastest NFL Players

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 13: Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The NFL has historically served as home to some of the fastest athletes of all-time. Current players like Raheem Mostert, John Ross III, and Kenyan Drake have clocked times that could hold up as some of the fastest in league history.

That poses the question, who is the fastest player in the NFL right now? For the sake of this analysis, we will use official 40-yard times and NFL Next Gen Stats of ball carrier runs for this 2020 season to determine that. This will give us a good idea given two completely different scenarios since the 40-yard time is vastly different than the in-game competition with your football betting on the line.

The NFL began clocking times electronically in 1999. Before that, the NFL used manual timing for all Combine records, and the argument for the fastest player leaves room for plenty of human error. It is reported that Bo Jackson ran his 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.13 seconds in 1986, making him the fastest of all-time. The question of the validity of that number is up for debate.

The NFL now provides specific speeds on different in-game play types with their Next Gen Stats. This information can help us understand the players who have clocked in at top speeds during games, but players who haven’t gotten a lot of tick? That’s when we turn to NFL Combine and Pro Day 40-yard dash numbers.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Raheem Mostert is the fastest player (with the ball in his hands) of this 2020 season with an 80- and 76-yard touchdown, clocking in at a top speed of 23.09 and 22.73 mph respectively in Weeks 1 and 2.

Top 10 Fastest 40-Yard Combines Times of Active Players

Based on electronically clocked numbers, John Ross holds the No.1 spot for all time and currently active players. His 4.22 40-yard dash was set in 2017. The Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III came close when he notched a 4.27 40 in 2020. 

Let’s take a look at the fastest 40-yard dash times for current NFL players to aid in your overall league knowledge in football lines. All of these times were officially recorded at the NFL Combine or Pro Day.

 PlayerDrafted TeamCombine Time (40-Yard)Year
1.John RossBengals4.222017
T-2.Marquise GoodwinEagles4.272019
T-2.Henry Ruggs IIIRaiders4.272020
T-4.Tyreek HillChiefs4.29 (Pro Day)2016
T-4.Javelin GuidryJets4.292020
T-6.Curtis SamuelPanthers4.312017
T-6.Andy IsabellaCardinals4.312019
T-6.Parris CampbellColts4.312019
T-9.Will Fuller VTexans4.322018
T-9.Raheem Mostert49ers4.322015

Top 10 Fastest Players and Plays this 2020 Season

All times are based on ball carriers and clocked on NFL Next Gen Stats for the 2020 season and each players’ official NFL Combine 40-yard dash time for the sake of comparison. Keep in mind these times are when players had the ball in their hands. 

PlayerTeamSpeed (mph)PlayDateCombine Time (40-Yard)
1.Raheem Mostert49ers23.0980-yard rush. TDWeek 24.34/18.85 mph
2.Raheem Mostert49ers22.7376-yard rec. TDWeek 14.34/18.85 mph
3.Kenyan DrakeCardinals22.1169-yard rush. TDWeek 64.45/18.38 mph
4.Tyreek HillChiefs21.9144-yard rec. TDWeek 144.29/19.07 mph (Pro Day)
5.Nyheim HinesColts21.8519-yard kickoff ret.Week 134.38/18.68 mph
6.Trevon DiggsCowboys21.720-yard int.Week 8N/A
7.Michael DavisChargers21.6978-yard int. TDWeek 44.54/18.02 mph
8.DK MetcalfSeahawks21.666-yard receptionWeek 74.33/18.89 mph
9.Derrick HenryTitans21.6294-yard rush. TDWeek 64.54/18.02 mph
10.Jonathan TaylorColts21.6013-yard rec. TDWeek 134.39/18.64 mph

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